Golden Week: Kiyomizu-dera Temple

Kiyomizu-dera became my favourite temple in all of Japan since my first visit in August of 2009. I visited it during Obon holidays when Japanese people go back to their hometowns to pay respect to their deceased family members. I remember it being extremely hot at the time, but the views of the city from the temple are amazing.

The temple was first built in 798, but the buildings standing today are reconstructions dating from 1633. The main hall has a huge veranda that is supported by hundreds of pillars and juts out over the hillside. To approach the temple one walks through Chawan-zaka (Teapot lane) and is lned up with local shops selling souvenirs, handicrafts and all sorts of Kyoto snacks.

This past March I had an incredible experience while visiting with my boyfriend’s parents. Thomas’ father is friend’s with the monk who takes care of the temple. We had a once in a lifetime chance to go into the reception area and got to see one of the most amazing views of the city. We also got a private tour of the temple and got to walk around certain areas that the public don’t have access to. He explained us about Buddhism, about the temple and its significance to Japan.

For Golden Week I wasn’t able to meet up with the monk (I don’t have those kind of connections all the time) but it was nice to go with my friends and take a look at the last cherry blossoms of the season, walk around the alleyways and walk into the shops along the way.

Japanese maples on a spring day.

The entrance of Kiyomizu-dera temple.

The last cherry blossoms of the season.

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Golden Week!

For Golden Week holidays I went to Kyoto and Tokyo. It was my 5th visit to Kyoto, which has become my favourite city in Japan. It has everything you would expect to see in Japan, temples and shrines, geishas, modern buildings, great food and lovely, kind people.

I went with my friends Jen who was visiting from Australia on her way back to Canada and my friend Rachel who lives in the same town where I live. Then Thomas joined us for the Tokyo leg of the holidays.

I will try to write as much as  can about the places we visited and the things we saw, or at least as much as I can remember.

The end of the cherry blossom season at Kiyomizu-dera temple, Kyoto.